We have previously shown that in rat renal cortex, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression is localized to cTALH cells in the region of the macula densa, and that dietary salt restriction increases COX-2 expression. Administration of the angiotensin converting inhibitor, captopril, further increased COX-2 mRNA and renal cortical COX-2 immunoreactivity, with the most pronounced expression in the macula densa. Administration of an AT1 receptor antagonist, losartan, also significantly increased cortical COX-2 mRNA expression and COX-2 immunoreactivity. Mutant mice homozygous for both Agtr1a and Agtr1b null mutations (Agtr1a-/-,Agtr1b-/-) demonstrated large increases in immunoreactive COX-2 expression inthe cTALH/macula densa. To determine whether increased COX-2expression in response to ACE inhibition mediated increases in renin production, rats were treated with captopril for one week with or without the specific COX-2 inhibitor, SC58236. Plasma renin activity increased significantly in the captropril group, and this increase was significantly inhibited by simultaneous treatment with SC58236. Thus, these studies indicated that angiotensin II inhibitors augment upregulation of renal cortical COX-2 in states of volume depletion, suggesting that negative feedback by the renin-angiotensin system modulates renal cortical COX-2 expression and that COX-2 is a mediator of increased renin production in response to inhibition of angiotension II production.